SOA Response - Oil Break In and Synthetic Usage
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This is a discussion on SOA Response - Oil Break In and Synthetic Usage within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Bit the bullet and emailed SOA...interesting! Question: I have a MY09 WRX. I am hearing that you are not supposed ...

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    SOA Response - Oil Break In and Synthetic Usage

    Bit the bullet and emailed SOA...interesting!

    Question:
    I have a MY09 WRX. I am hearing that you are not supposed to use full synthetic oil for the first few changes. Please confirm whether or not this is true. Thank you.

    Response:
    “Thank you for visiting the Subaru Web site and congratulations on the purchase of your 2009 WRX. We wish you the best with it!!

    As for synthetic oil, this is your decision. Our Technical Services Department advised that if you do decide to use synthetic oil, that you always use it because your engine will become accustomed to it. The same goes if you decide to use 'regular' oil.

    We recommend that you first change the oil in your 2009 WRX at 3,750 miles or 3.75 months, whichever comes first. We STRONGLY recommend that you at least wait until the break-in period of 1,000 miles is surpassed.

    The break-in period of the engine requires that a given amount of friction exists between components. The piston rings need to rub against the cylinder wall to break-in or finely tune the machine mating between the two metal parts. To properly seat all mechanical components, a certain amount of friction is required between the metal parts. Since synthetic oil has a lower friction rating than regular oil, we recommend that Subaru owners wait until after the 1,000 mile break-in period to switch to synthetic engine oil.

    Synthetic engine oils can be used in our engines if the user follows the engine oil recommendations prescribed in the Owner's Manual. Subaru has not tested the compatibility of all synthetic oils with engine seals, but the petroleum industry does adhere to standards for the refining process which meet Subaru requirements. Subaru does not guarantee the performance of any brand of any engine oil.

    Engine Oil Guidelines: - only use engine oil that meets or exceeds the API classification designated in the Owner's Manual for the vehicle - only use engine oil that meets the VISCOSITY requirements for the ambient temperatures under which the vehicle will be operated as outlined in the Owner's Manual - THE ENGINE OIL MUST BE CHANGED AT THE INTERVALS SPECIFIED IN THE WARRANTY AND MAINTENANCE BOOKLET FOR THE VEHICLE. SOME SYNTHETIC OIL REFINERS RECOMMEND EXTENDED OIL CHANGE INTERVALS. SUBARU DOES NOT RECOMMEND ANY DEVIATION FROM THE SPECIFIED INTERVALS IN THE OWNER'S MANUAL.

    Thank you for the opportunity to be of assistance. If you need any future assistance, please let us know.”

    So my take:

    Sounds like the thin break-in oil is purposeful to mate the metal parts. The friction is NECESSARY! Crazy.
    Also, it sounds like they are protecting themselves in case something goes wrong with using synthetic afterwards, the lawyers probably wrote that response. I guess I won't change my oil 'till 2K-ish now. Still dont' know whether to use synthetic or not. Sheesh!!!

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    Registered User wrx wagone's Avatar
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    Leave the dyno oil in for the first 3k or so. They are correct that the motor parts need to "wear" into each other. After that, switch to synthetic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Call_'er_Roxie View Post
    Still dont' know whether to use synthetic or not.
    Why not? Their response was clear. Use the type and viscosity specified in the manual and perform the changes at the intervals specified in the manual. Keep all receipts for warranty purposes.

    The brand and composition of the oil, provided the above are met, is up to you.

    Happy shopping!
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    My opinion is that their response has a slight flaw. They imply that the use of synthetic oil means that the engine will experience no friction between its metal parts which isn't true. The engine will still "break-in" but it will take longer if you use synthetic oil. I've been using synthetic oil in my 06 WRX it was 500 miles old and my engine still runs as new.

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    My car will never ever use synthetic oil again. Every engine failure I've ever seen (my own and other people's) has occurred with synthetics in use. Just my experience. Stay away.

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    I find it hard to believe that synthetic oil caused any problems... Synthetic is better in every way than Dino oil... JMO from my experiences in automotive life.
    '02 WRX 4EAT, 311,000KMs/194,500Miles, Sold. Best car I ever had. '09 STi stage 1, hope this one will be good too...

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    Registered User wrx wagone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    My car will never ever use synthetic oil again. Every engine failure I've ever seen (my own and other people's) has occurred with synthetics in use. Just my experience. Stay away.
    So you have proof the synthetics we're at fault, and not just that someone blew a motor with synthetic in there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrx wagone View Post
    So you have proof the synthetics we're at fault, and not just that someone blew a motor with synthetic in there?
    Royal Purple seems to be the biggest culprit despite a huge ran base. There was even a recent thread on NASIOC where a Subaru dealership with a vendor account said 7 in 10 motor failures that came in that were oil related had RP in them. We've all heard the Mobil 1 stories as well. A local Subie shop has even stated that cars using dino rarely ever have as many problems.

    Freak accident that supports my suspicion. February I took my car to a 15 minute oil change station. This was after I said no more synth oil after hearing all the stories and after having spun a bearing myself. When they were ringing me up they told me they accidentally used Royal Purple and not the Castrol dino I'd asked for and that they weren't charging me. I knew something bad was going to happen. 150 miles later I had broken rings and scored cylinder walls. Curses!

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    Registered User wrx wagone's Avatar
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    Yes, and I'm on 61k of hard autox use running nothing but Moblie 1 -> Royal Purple -> Redline and the thing runs like a raped ape.

    We may never know.
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    All I can say is I have 290,000Kms/181,000Miles on my wrx most of it on stage 2 and still on original engine, transmission, turbo...Using synthetic oil since the first oil change.
    '02 WRX 4EAT, 311,000KMs/194,500Miles, Sold. Best car I ever had. '09 STi stage 1, hope this one will be good too...

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    DUB
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    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    My car will never ever use synthetic oil again. Every engine failure I've ever seen (my own and other people's) has occurred with synthetics in use. Just my experience. Stay away.


    That's because the vast majority of people use synthetics. By your logic I could say I will never wear shoes again, as every engine failure I've ever seen has occurred while the driver was wearing shoes.

    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    Freak accident that supports my suspicion. February I took my car to a 15 minute oil change station. This was after I said no more synth oil after hearing all the stories and after having spun a bearing myself. When they were ringing me up they told me they accidentally used Royal Purple and not the Castrol dino I'd asked for and that they weren't charging me. I knew something bad was going to happen. 150 miles later I had broken rings and scored cylinder walls. Curses!
    By God, you're right! That IS conclusive proof!


    EDIT: Oh yeah, and to the OP, what is so interesting about that? There is nothing in that response that wasn't already common knowledge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DUB View Post


    That's because the vast majority of people use synthetics. By your logic I could say I will never wear shoes again, as every engine failure I've ever seen has occurred while the driver was wearing shoes.



    By God, you're right! That IS conclusive proof!
    You think a "vast majority" use synthetics? You are sadly mistaken. Maybe the people you know, but not the general population.

    And great insight into an obvious joke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    You think a "vast majority" use synthetics? You are sadly mistaken. Maybe the people you know, but not the general population.

    And great insight into an obvious joke.
    We're not talking about the general population. We are talking about the enthusiast community. In that sample, yes, synthetics are far more commonly used.

    Which part is the joke? The part about synthetic motor oil causing engine failure or the part about royal purple causing your engine failure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DUB View Post
    We're not talking about the general population. We are talking about the enthusiast community. In that sample, yes, synthetics are far more commonly used.

    Which part is the joke? The part about synthetic motor oil causing engine failure or the part about royal purple causing your engine failure.
    Reread my original post and figure it out.

    I could be some insidious newbie spouting out nonsense that's not based on any real fact or experience who's out to get the unsuspecting OP! But, unfortunately I'm not. I'm only stating what I've learned in the past +6 years of owning WRXs and being active in the Subaru community. The OP can do whatever he wants, that's up for him to decide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    My car will never ever use synthetic oil again. Every engine failure I've ever seen (my own and other people's) has occurred with synthetics in use. Just my experience. Stay away.
    Come on, seriously? So the oils that are used in every single high end car in the world cause engine failures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Les40 View Post
    My opinion is that their response has a slight flaw. They imply that the use of synthetic oil means that the engine will experience no friction between its metal parts which isn't true. The engine will still "break-in" but it will take longer if you use synthetic oil. I've been using synthetic oil in my 06 WRX it was 500 miles old and my engine still runs as new.
    I'd say that's more than a slight flaw.

    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    Royal Purple seems to be the biggest culprit despite a huge ran base. There was even a recent thread on NASIOC where a Subaru dealership with a vendor account said 7 in 10 motor failures that came in that were oil related had RP in them. We've all heard the Mobil 1 stories as well. A local Subie shop has even stated that cars using dino rarely ever have as many problems.

    Freak accident that supports my suspicion. February I took my car to a 15 minute oil change station. This was after I said no more synth oil after hearing all the stories and after having spun a bearing myself. When they were ringing me up they told me they accidentally used Royal Purple and not the Castrol dino I'd asked for and that they weren't charging me. I knew something bad was going to happen. 150 miles later I had broken rings and scored cylinder walls. Curses!
    Did you ever consider that maybe your problem is what I highlighted in your post above? Change your own oil and stop taking your car into a bunch of untrained monkeys to change your oil and maybe you'd have better luck!
    Scott
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